Developing Leaders at Aflac

The situation. The American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac), a large and fast-growing supplemental insurance company, required an innovative program to develop and enhance leadership skills in the organization’s top 500 employees. Executive leadership requested the creation of a distinct leadership program for each of three key management groups: Senior managers (75), mid-level managers (150), and managers and supervisors (approximately 300). The leadership programs were to develop and enhance skills specific to the company’s leadership competency model.

Key objectives. The goals of the project included:

  • Increasing leadership skills deemed essential to the growth of the company
  • Enhancing the ability of individuals to create high-performance functions and teams throughout the company
  • Developing the skills required to motivate and engage a large workforce
  • Improving performance management skills (e.g., goal-setting, feedback, coaching)
  • Increasing communication and problem-solving skills, and, in turn
  • Accelerating the bottom-line growth of the business.

Project scope. Activities included:

  • Conceiving and developing three leadership programs
  • Creating action-learning projects for each program
  • Developing compelling business simulations for each program
  • Enlisting the support and participation of executive management in each program
  • Developing a feedback process for the programs, and
  • Delivering each program.

Benefits achieved. Following the completion of the work, the company reported:

  • Increased leadership abilities among participants
  • A greater focus on the forming of high-performance teams
  • A heightened interest in and attention to the coaching of moderate and poor performers
  • Stronger communication/presentation skills throughout the management ranks
  • Increased collaboration/cooperation across the organization (one of the key themes of the program)
  • More flexibility in thinking and problem-solving, and
  • Enhanced internal customer service.